Archaeologists have used a drone to locate a mysterious ancient structure in the heart of an Israeli military training area.
The 2,200-year-old structure, which may be a temple or palace from the ancient Idumean culture, was excavated by experts from the Israel Antiquities Authority and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The structure dates back to the Hellenistic period, when Greek influences were strong in the region.
An altar adorned with the image of a bull was found inside the structure at Horvat ‘Amuda, in the Lachish region of Israel. The Idumeans were a Semitic people originating in southern Jordan who settled in the Judean foothills.
Archaeologists believe that the altar may have been dismantled during the area’s conquest by the Hasmonean dynasty during the second century B.C.
“If this was indeed an Idumean palace or temple, it is a rare and exciting find – similar structures in this country can be counted on the fingers of one hand,” explained excavation directors Dr. Oren Gutfeld of the Hebrew University, and Pablo Betzer and Michal Haber of the Israel Antiquities Authority, in a statement.
A camera-equipped drone helped locate the structure. “This technology helped us choose where to focus our excavation probes, and, indeed, it very quickly emerged that this was in fact a unique discovery,” the archaeologists said.
The archaeologists found two stone incense altars in one of the rooms within the structure. One of them, which bears the carved image of a bull, stands in what appears to be the façade of a temple adorned with magnificent columns. Describing the decorated altar as a rare find, experts think that the bull may represent a deity worshipped by the Idumeans.
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SOURCE: Fox News, James Rogers